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Walker: Focus on speed for ECR year two

Mar 8, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT

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Ed Carpenter Racing ended 2012 on a high, as owner/driver Ed Carpenter posted his best ever road or street course qualifying result in Baltimore, then won the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

For year two of the program, Carpenter seeks increased speed to go along with his reliability that was a good part of 2012. He finished 14 of 15 races, Baltimore incidentally the only exception as he contacted the wall.

Team manager Derrick Walker expanded on what team and driver need to do in the group’s second year.

“We sat down at the end of the season and asked where we should focus our resources and all of our energy to be more successful in 2013,” Walker said. “The team has executed that flawlessly in the winter, and we are anxious to see that focus show up at the race track. I think we have done a good job of maximizing our human resources and our intelligence over the winter.”

Carpenter’s innate strength has always been on the ovals. Walker noted how Carpenter was close to wins in both 500-mile oval races – Carpenter ran in the top three late at the Indianapolis 500 before a spin – and has another full year of road and street course racing under his belt.

“The focus now has all been about speed,” Walker said. “I think he has come a long way in that area.  We worked with Vision Racing a while back and he has improved quite bit from those days. We have a former driver, Lee Bentham, a former Atlantic champion, who helps us. Lee is very good as a spotter and he assisted Ed in certain areas.  Ed has benefited from just hard work and the feedback he receives from Lee. Road circuits are not our stronger suit right now. But we are improving.”

Not only has Bentham aided Carpenter’s road and street course development, but ECR also has worked in partnership with Andretti Autosport this offseason. Ryan Hunter-Reay drove Carpenter’s car for a few laps at a test in Sonoma at the end of February.

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